LAUP reopens ‘Lift Zone’ to bridge the digital divide

As part of an effort to bridge the digital divide, Latin Americans United for Progress (LAUP) is reopening its Wi-Fi-connected “Lift Zone” in its new location, thanks to an assist from Comcast.

The nonprofit’s digital equity efforts are aimed at giving young people the educational support and tools they need to engage in learning and college and scholarship applications. The Lift Zone is also available for all members of the Holland Latinx community to have a resource where they can take advantage of everything from fully online Spanish language GED programs to online life skills, like emails, app use, and online banking. 

In an area where the Latinx community has flourished for nearly a century and a half and now makes up around 30% of the city of Holland, these efforts can make an impactful difference for residents.

“Having access to the internet is a great equalizer,” says Johnny Rodriguez, executive director of LAUP. “Digital fluency is the key to unlocking greater equity and opportunity for all. We are proud to partner with Comcast to have a place where the community can come to connect online to learn, find jobs, and access other important resources.”

Internet access, digital skills content

LAUP moved its headquarters and Lift Zone from a shared space at BLVD Church in August 2022 to its own larger building — at 430 W. 17th St. — which houses more volunteers and programming. The Lift Zone was closed while LAUP settled into its new location.

Lift Zones from Comcast provide free robust Wi-Fi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help families get online, participate in distance learning, conduct job searches, and access health care information and public assistance. 

These sites also offer hundreds of hours of digital skills content to help families effectively navigate the internet. There are 60 Lift Zones in Michigan, including six in West Michigan.

Lift Zones are part of Comcast’s Project UP, a comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity and help build a future of unlimited possibilities. Backed by a $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people, Project UP encompasses the programs and community partnerships across Comcast, NBCUniversal, and Sky that connect people to the internet, advance economic mobility, and open doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, storytellers, and creators. 

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.